PUGET SOUND, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound's Manchester Fuel Department (MFD) transferred nearly 1 million gallons of a 50/50 blend of renewable biofuels to the Military Sealift Command's (MSC) USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), June 13.
The blend will now be used to fuel ships participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2012.
The transfer represents the initial phases of the Navy's "Great Green Fleet" initiative to cut the consumption of petroleum by its commercial vehicle fleet in half by 2015, and receive 50 percent of all of its energy from fossil fuel alternatives by 2020.
"We are really leading the way in alternative fuel specifically designed for distribution to the Department of Navy," said NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound MFD Director Lt. Jason Harper.
Launched in fall 2009, the "Great Green Fleet" initiative, whose name is an historic nod to Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt's Great White Fleet of 1907, designated NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound's MFD as the site to produce, store and ultimately transfer 884,000 gallons of alternative fuel and diesel to fuel RIMPAC 2012 ships.
The effort entailed a closely coordinated effort between numerous DoD agencies. NAVSUP Energy, the lead activity, worked closely with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to establish the requirements and set quality standards, after which they coordinated with the Defense Logistics Agency for the contracting and transportation of the fuels to MFD. NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound operates Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy's Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP), Manchester.
Since June 2011, MFD has received 76 rail and tanker-truck shipments from Texas and Louisiana, totaling 442,000 gallons of alternative fuels - 350,000 gallons of HRD-76 and 92,000 gallons of HRJ-5 - both produced from used cooking oil. They isolated and stored it on their barges and blended it with Navy diesel fuel for about 30 days.
"We had to be innovative with how we received the product from the trucks to the barge; not a typical method for us, but we overcame the challenges and were successful in safely receiving the fuel, and storing it on three of our five fuel barges," said Harper.
MFD Deputy Director Bob Cairns said blending the fuels presented new challenges, although they were easily within the fuel department's capabilities.
"We blended the HRD-76 and HRJ-5 with regular F76 and JP5 on the barge to a 50/50 blend. Blending the fuel was labor intensive; we had to re-circulate the fuel on the barge to make sure it was fully blended," said Cairns.
Next, MFD lab personnel collected samples and tested the fuel to make sure it met specifications, and then sent samples back to Naval Air Station Patuxent River for further testing. Once all tests were successful, the blend was authorized for use.
The successful culmination of this critical initial stage came on the morning of June 13, when MFD finally transferred a total of 884,000gallons of the 50/50 blend to the USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187).
"The Navy has been at the forefront of energy innovation throughout its history," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "From sail to coal-fired steam to oil and nuclear powered submarines and carriers, we have sought and achieved technological advancement in how we power the fleet because it has made us better warfighters. The Great Green Fleet demonstration is a significant milestone in the Navy's progress to greater energy security."
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